DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Two women being probed for the novel coronavirus escaped from their quarantine facility in Sarangani on Thursday, March 12, to catch a flight to Japan via Manila, police said.
The Police Regional Office 11 (PRO11) said on Friday, March 13, that they tracked down the persons under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 – sisters – in a hotel in Davao City and were brought to the Southern Philippines Medical Center here.
The two were in quarantine in a government facility in Sarangani but escaped on Thursday, Lieutenant Colonel Rainer Diaz, PRO11 operations management chief, said in a memo on Thursday that got leaked to the media on Friday, March 13.
Diaz said in the memo that two planned to enter Davao City to get on a morning flight to Manila on Friday.
PRO11 said on Friday that from Manila, the siblings were supposed to get on a flight to Japan.
Diaz had ordered checkpoints and inspection of boundaries in the PRO11 area of responsibility starting 9 pm of Thursday, and said that once the siblings were found, they should be taken into custody and brought to a containment facility in coordination with health officials.
The two PUIs tried to break their quarantine on the same day that President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Metro Manila would be under lockdown beginning Sunday, March 15. Under the resolution that Duterte approved, “Land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila shall be suspended after the expiration of 48 hours from issuance of this Resolution.”
While the Philippines has no restrictions on Filipinos’ travel to Japan, the country has a number of COVID-19 cases, currently at 627.
Mindanao LGU efforts
Meanwhile, local government units in several Mindanao areas scrambled to prevent the entry of COVID-19 in their areas.
In Davao del Norte, Governor Edwin Jubahib issued Health Advisory No. 2020-003, mandating the “Strengthening the Preparedness and Response to COVID-19”.
Addressed to all town and city executives, port operators and the general public, Jubahib outlined some measures, including those already mentioned by the Department of Health circular.
In Davao Oriental, Governor Nelson Dayanghirang called for a special meeting with concerned offices for the implementation of necessary measures, including the monitoring of individuals, especially those coming from areas reported to have COVID-19 cases.
The Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center (DOPMC) also activated its Incident Command System (ICS) and has prepared 6 isolation rooms for possible cases.
DOPMC Chief of Hospital Dr. Reden Bersaldo said that when the situation gets worse, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Dormitel or the Balay Silangan could become possible quarantine areas for suspected cases.
In North Cotabato, Governor Nancy Catamco created a Task Force against COVID 19 on Thursday.
This came after Dr. Eva Rabaya, the Integrated Public Health Officer, reported on the matter of persons under monitoring (PUMs) and persons under investigation (PUIs) in the province.
Rabaya said there were 38 persons under monitoring in the past 14 days and 32 of them had completed the 14-day quarantine requirement.
During the meeting, a representative from the Department of Education in the province reported that all school activities that require mass gathering, including graduation rites, had already been postponed. – Rappler.com